Who can get prostate cancer?
Any male can get prostate cancer depending on the exposure to various risk factors like:
- Age: Older men (60 years or more) are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
- Obesity: Men who are overweight and follow an unhealthy diet are at an increased risk for developing prostate cancer.
- Family History: Presence of close relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer increases the chances of getting diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Smoking: Smoking is found to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in men.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
Since the prostate gland is present around the urethra, the earliest symptoms which are noticed are urinary complaints. If the cancer metastasizes to bone, bladder, or rectum, complaints can vary to symptoms specific to these organs as well.
- Trouble in starting or stopping the urine flow: Earliest symptom noticed can be difficulty in micturition due to which there is dribbling of urine.
- Reduced force of urine stream: Due to compression of the urethra, the urine stream force may be decreased or cause associated pains during micturition.
- Blood-tinged urine: Red or brown urine should raise suspicions about a probable malignancy and should be checked out.
- Blood-tinged semen: Red or brown semen should raise the alarm and be checked out by a doctor.
- Bone pain: Commonly seen due to metastasis of prostate tissue to bones.
- Unexplained weight loss: A significant weight loss without any change in diet or physical activity can point towards a possible malignancy.
- Easy fatigability: Tiredness on doing minor chores can be a probable symptom.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty in erection, pain during erection or other similar sexual complaints should raise the alarm for a probable malignancy.
When to approach a doctor?
There exist simple screening tests for prostate cancer which can help your doctor make an early diagnosis and start treatment. It is recommended that men who have the following complaints should get themselves checkout by a doctor:
- Age over 65 years
- Difficulty in urinating or dribbling of urine
- Past complaints of prostate diseases
- History of smoking
Early detection can empower your doctor in making an early intervention. With timely diagnosis of prostate cancer, the outcome and survival of the individual improves drastically!
What can be done at home?
Alongside medical treatment, any individual suffering from prostate cancer also requires rehabilitation on mental, physical and social grounds. Small steps taken for the patient can help him cope up with the disease and recover faster.
- Pelvic floor exercises: Kegel exercises are recommended to regain urinary bladder control as it helps strengthen the pelvic floor and reduces urinary complaints. This can be performed by tightening and releasing the pelvic muscles (pretend you’re starting and stopping the urine flow). The whole cycle should be repeated in sets of 10.
- Aerobic Exercises: Daily brisk walks, jogging, swimming have shown to be helpful in regaining normalcy in daily life and also in reducing weight.
- Strength Training: Lifting small weights can help increase the muscle mass and increase bone density of the patient.
- Balancing Exercises: Yoga and other balancing exercises help improve the coordination of the individual.
Note: Heavy lifting is to be avoided unless recommended by the therapist.
- The suffering individual should educate himself from valid resources and not believe in hear-say stories.
- Since prostate cancer can also lead to erectile dysfunction or loss of libido, it is of paramount importance to counsel both the patient as well as his partner about the disease. Mitigating stigma and offering a safe space for the patient to open up is the basic requirement.
- If the individual complaints of erectile dysfunction after the treatment, medicinal pills, suppositories etc. can be recommended. The patient must be counselled to ensure acceptance of the treatment.
- If the patient complains of urinary incontinence after the treatment, use of pads can be recommended after proper counselling for acceptance.
- Psychological or psychiatric help should be taken if the individual feels anxious, has palpitations, worries about the outcome of the disease excessively, loses interest in activities which were earlier pleasurable.
- Keep oneself busy by working on a hobby. It helps alleviate stress and also ensures productivity of the suffering individual.
- Cessation of smoking and alcohol can help the patient recover faster and prevents further damage to the body.
- Increased intake of fruits and vegetables, legumes can help cleanse the body. Simultaneously it is recommended to decrease intake of excessive salt, fat, spices, caffeine etc.
- Daily exercise is recommended. Apart from helping in regaining body functions, it also helps in alleviating stress.
- Reducing weight and achieving a normal BMI can help prevent recurrence of the disease.
- A repeat PSA test is advised every 6 months even after complete treatment, to keep a track of recurrence.
- Meditation can help relax the mind and body. It also works on relaxing the bladder.
For initiating any treatment, a final diagnosis is needed. Various investigations can help a doctor make the diagnosis for prostate cancer like:
- PSA test: High values indicate positive finding and is a marker for some disease in the prostate. This is usually done for screening and if positive, more specific tests can be ordered.
- Digital Examination: Growth of prostate can be felt by a doctor on digital rectal examination.
- Tissue Biopsy: A chunk of tissue is extracted and examined under a microscope. This is the best investigation and gives the final diagnosis.
If diagnosed early, prostate cancer can be completely cured without many side effects. Depending upon the clinical profile and the staging of the cancer, one of the following treatment modalities can be opted for:
- Medicines: Medical science has evolved enough to be able to control the growth of cancerous tissues with various anticancer medicines. It is usually preferred in those individuals who do not show any metastasis of the cancer.
- Surgery: Prostate cancers can also be operated on and removed with a satisfactory result. Recurrence rate of prostate cancer following surgery is low.
- Radiotherapy: Radiation can help destroy the cancerous tissues and is highly effective in individuals who do not opt for surgery.
- Cryotherapy: Growth of cancer cells is arrested by freezing them in this therapy.
- Hormone Therapy: Male hormones, namely testosterone, promote the growth of prostate cells. Therapies which prevent formation or functioning of testosterone can be effective in prostate cancer.
- Lifestyle Modifications: A change in diet, daily exercise and cessation of smoking can help improve the outcome of the treatment.
- Counselling: In a disease like prostate cancer, it is important to educate the patient and his/her family, mitigate their doubts and concerns, and give them emotional support to tide over the illness.
In a country like India, most elderly hide their symptoms pertaining to sexual or urinary complaints. It is important to educate oneself to rise above these taboo topics and to ask for help if needed. It takes time to rise above any such disorder and to help you in your recovery, Resolve360 offers a team of specialists to ensure your complete physical, mental and social recovery at the comfort of your house! We pride ourselves on offering a holistic yet personalized rehabilitation to each of our patients. To book your first free session, register here! https://resolve360.app/
This article is meant to guide and educate the patients. All medical treatment is to be undertaken under the guidance of expert medical service providers only.